By the end of the lacklustre campaign you're thinking that there's little else the game can do to destroy your childhood dreams. But this is Star Wars we're talking about here, and if the film prequels have taught us anything, it's that nothing in the Star Wars universe is sacred anymore. Yes, Kinect Star Wars has a dance mode, and there is nothing that can prepare you for the sight of Han Solo mid-groove, his hips gyrating like an overexuberant schoolboy on prom night to the sounds of Jamiroquai's "Canned Heat" with the word "boogie" replaced with "Wookie."
6369361There are no words.
It's equal parts shock, horror, and hilarity, with things only getting more horrific as Lando Calrissian steps up to perform such classic moves as the shoulder pumping Speeder, the groin-thrusting There Is No Try, and the finger-pointing extravaganza that is The Double Blaster, The songs are even more cringing than the dance moves; most consist of cover versions of pop classics with the lyrics swapped out for something more Star Wars-centric. Be prepared to laugh and cry at such genius as "I'm a princess in a battle, you gotta join the rebel way" to the tune of Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle"; "I'm picking up my blaster, put it on my side, I'm jumping in my Falcon, Wookie at my side" to the tune of Jason Derulo's "Ridin' Solo"; and "It's great to be in the empire today" to the tune of everyone's favourite party anthem, "Y.M.C.A" by the Village People.
While your childhood memories may never recover, the dancing game is actually pretty fun. The choreography is suitably silly, and the move detection is great--even with two players. Limbs of the onscreen avatars shine red to show you which moves you're missing, and there's even Dance Central-style moments where you have to strike a pose for bonus points. Those points go towards a star rating that you're given at the end of each level, with higher ratings unlocking higher difficulty levels and songs. It's best not to think about Han Solo's gyrating hips too much and just revel in the silliness of it all, even if you never see the renegade smuggler in quite the same light again.
Get tired of dancing, and you can take to the deserts of Tatooine for a spot of podracing. There are a bunch of tracks to race around, plus a host of different opponents for you to jostle in your clapped-out pod. Even the commentary is in the overexuberant style from Episode One. The way you pilot the pods is pretty cool, if completely impractical. You hold your arms straight out in front of you like you're in the pod, pulling back your left arm to turn left and your right arm to turn right. It works well, but it doesn't take long for all the pushing and pulling motions while holding your arms upright to completely tire you out. It's a good workout, for sure, so kids with boundless supplies of energy will fare much better than a coffee-starved adult.
That that, inanimate object!
Speaking of kids, if there's one minigame in Kinect Star Wars that they'll love, then Rancor Rampage is it. You take on the role of a Rancor, which has been set loose on an unsuspecting city. Stomping your feet causes the Rancor to move forward, while flailing your arms causes him to smash through buildings in the city. Crouching down and doing a jogging motion lets him charge through crowds of people like a juggernaut, squashing anyone in his path. You can even pick up inhabitants of the city and throw them around like confetti, with points awarded for distance. It's a lot of crazy fun, even if it's not the deepest of experiences.
What Kinect Star Wars does do is highlight just how difficult it is to create a full-on action experience using the Kinect. It tries hard, but the action is slowed down to a pace that saps the fun out of being a Jedi. Even the novelty of waving a lightsaber around can overcome only so much. And while the other minigames are a fun, if sometimes horrifying, distraction, that's all they are: a distraction. There's nothing lasting, nothing deep enough to make you want to revisit this motion-controlled Star Wars universe. It turns out there is something as clumsy and random as a blaster, and sadly, Kinect Star Wars is it.